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OPINION: Fall River parent issues curriculum concern as book is full of profanity, inappropriate themes and images

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A Fall River parent wrote the following about a book 7th graders in Fall River Public Middle Schools are being asked to read. The parent did not want to give their name and asked if they could remain anonymous.

“To have students who are 12-13 years old read [All American Boys] is something that is completely irresponsible. Students in 7th grade do not have the coping skills, social skills or cognitive abilities to look at this book and the events in it objectively in order to learn about the “injustices” of the world. The profanity, subject matter, themes and images this novel creates and uses, are extremely unsettling and upsetting. We expect our children to act appropriately, use respectful language and not engage in some of the behaviors mentioned in this novel, yet we are reading this to all students in 7th grade?

That being said, I understand the importance of why this curriculum would be taught. It’s relatable to what our country is facing currently and the thought process of exposing them to these harsh realities is one that should be addressed, but not at 12 years old. These are things that should be taught when students are older and have the ability to critically think about these themes, how they apply to them and what they can learn from it. We are talking about 12-year-old children, most of which have not been in school for a year, who are struggling academically and socially and we’re going to ask them to read this? Below are some passages we are going to ask our 12-year-old children to read:

“Meth? Only white people do that s***. F*** you man. No f*** you, Quinn. I’ve seen you smoking a blunt. Metcalf sold you that s***. Metcalf – a white dude by the way. Man, that shit could have been laced with crack, or f***** Drano.”

“The only other teacher who was down for stuff like that was Mrs. Tracey, the English teacher. Shannon and Carlos used to always joke about how Mr. Fisher and Mrs. Tracey were probably dating, probably having gross teacher sex after school on Mrs. Tracey’s desk.”

“My brain exploded into a million thoughts and only one thought at the same time – please don’t kill me.”

I am not the only parent who feels this way. There are hundreds of reviews for this book that talk about the gravity of this subject and the need for students who are older than 15 to read this book. 12 years old is not 15. I’m asking parents to please do some research about this book and to contact the principals and other district leaders with your concerns about reading it to our children.

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